Orange City, Iowa — A group calling themselves the “New Broom Society Of Siouxland” is objecting to Sioux County’s 2014-15 budget. The group has made several other allegations of the Sioux County Board of Supervisors.
The group has made an appeal to the State Board of Appeals in regard to the Sioux County 2014/2015 budget. A hearing was held on Thursday, April 17th, before representatives from the state Treasury, Auditor, and Management Offices.
According to the group’s Facebook page, they have submitted a petition with 122 signatures that calls for the appeal.
We talked with Sioux County Auditor Lois Huitink about the issue. She says there were only 113 valid signatures on the petitions. She says the Iowa Code states in part: “At all hearings, the burden shall be upon the objectors with reference to any proposed item in the budget which was included in the budget of the previous year and which the objectors propose should be reduced or excluded…” The Code continues: “…the burden shall be upon the certifying board or the levying board, as the case may be, to show that any new item in the budget, or any increase in any item in the budget, is necessary, reasonable, and in the interest of the public welfare”.
Huitink says that there were a lot of comments from the petitioners — that is the New Broom Society — that did not pertain to 2015 budget. She says she expects the appeal board to only look at comments that did apply.
The group makes the following allegations of the Sioux County Board:
- Excessive salaries for elected officials ($526,504 vs $581,510 for Woodbury Co);
- Excessive patrolling and expenditures by sheriff and other departments. SWAT team can be eliminated, sentenced to serve, sharing with conservation can reduce expenditures;
- Mismanagement of legal affairs and prosecutions (overcharging of some, failure to prosecute the elites, illegal lagoon, zoning and now landfill violations, endless appeals)
- Excessive expenditures (above tax revenues by $7 million last 3 budgets);
- Failure to collect monies owed to the county;
- Confusing and inaccurate numbers in financial reports and published budgets. Current budget started with $9.2 million — day before the balance was Negative. Inaccurate figures are believed to have been published for this budget;
- Taxes raised by $700,000; expenditures up by over $4 million, and
- Bullying by sheriff to prevent fair comments and questions at budget hearings — thus preventing and denying a hearing as required by law. No hearing held.
Huitink says the hearing was only a fact-finding hearing, and that no decisions were made during the hearing. The State Appeals Board will meet on April 28th and make their determination at that time.
Auditor Huitink has provided us with copies of several supporting documents from the hearing, and they are available below:
Per Capita Data 14
Additions-Increases to Expenditures
Response to Petition OPENING STATEMENT
Budget Appeal Summary Information